Make Art With a Needle

What is embroidery? Embroidery is like painting a picture with thread. Embroidery is a learned skill, a craft, and a form of art. Embroidery is the art of creating a design on a piece of fabric. The design is made using a needle and some type of thread, like yarn or embroidery thread. Typically, the fabric is placed into an embroidery hoop, which will stretch the material so stitching will be consistent.

The origins of embroidery are unknown, but early examples survive from ancient Egypt, Iron Age Northern Europe and Zhou Dynasty China. Examples of surviving Chinese chain stitch embroidery worked in silk thread have been dated to the Warring States period (5th-3rd century BC).”[3627]

What is Embroidery? A Counted Cross-Stitch PictureCredit: Southerngirl09

There are many different types of embroidery: Free embroidery, candlewicking, counted cross-stitch, crewel embroidery, needlepoint, and smocking are the most popular ones done today.

What is Embroidery?Credit: Southerngirl09

Free Embroidery – A type of embroidery that is stitched onto a fabric using a design that can be stamped onto the fabric. Many kits are sold today with patterns pre-stamped on the fabric. This is one of the easiest types of embroidery. Kits can be found for beginners as well as the more experienced crafters.


What is Embroidery? CandlewickingCredit: Southerngirl09Candlewicking – Is a type of embroidery that is typically worked on a cotton fabric using thread similar to a candlewick. The designs are usually pre-stamped onto the fabric. Quite often, you will see this type of embroidery on pillows. Candlewicking pillows and other decorative pieces are popular items at charity silent auction sales. I find it simpler to purchase a candlewicking kit that has what you need to complete the stitching.

 What is Embroidery? Sample of Counted Cross-Stitch(97167)Credit: Southerngirl09Counted Cross-Stitch – Cross-stitch embroidery is worked on aida cloth. This cloth looks like a mesh fabric. Designs are created by making cross-stitches using the openings in the mesh. Printed patterns are followed by counting the number of cross-stitches and stitching them into the aida cloth. Aida cloth comes in several colors, and the size of the mesh to be used is usually stated in the directions that come with the pattern. The directions also specify the type and color of thread to be used to complete the design. Cross-stitch embroidery can be used on clothing, on linens, to make pictures, and other decorating pieces. It is easy to do and a great craft. You can also purchase patterns in books, find patterns online, and then buy the items you will need to complete the project, or you can purchase a counted cross-stitch kit that includes everything you need.

What is Embroidery? Sample of Crewel EmbroideryCredit: Southerngirl09

Crewel Embroidery – Is similar to free embroidery except the pattern is stitched using yarn. The patterns are always stamped onto the fabric. Crewel embroidery can be used on clothes, pillows, pictures, and other household items. The yarn adds more texture to the piece and projects seem to work up faster.

What is Embroidery? NeedlepointCredit: Southerngirl09

Needlepoint – Is a form of embroidery that uses a special type of open canvas. The design is printed or painted onto the canvas, and yarn is used to cover the canvas forming the design. Needlepoint is best used for decorating and upholstery.

What is Embroidery? Smocking(97506)Credit: AmazonSmocking – Is a decorative way to gather material. Smocking is frequently used when making clothes for little girls.

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I confess - I am a needlework addict. Like others who are afflicted with the same disease, I have too many projects to do and not enough time to do them. Yet, whenever I happen upon a sale, I can’t resist adding one more pattern book, yarn, thread, or kit to my collection.

In Closing

Embroidery is one of my favorite needlecrafts. I like the fact that it can so easily be worked on for short periods, put down, and returned to later. I have many precious pieces of embroidery that were passed down to me by my mother and my mother-in-law. If you are looking for a new hobby or craft, then consider embroidery. It is a great way to create special gifts, and add beauty to your home. Now you know the answer to - what is embroidery.